Forget about next year!

Why? Well at this time of year, apart from the Christmas rush, we begin to hear people talking about plans for next year, new resolutions to be set, goals to be achieved, and getting the last bit in before the inevitable 31st of the month. So STOP!

For just the next five minutes, how about we do something different? How about we grab a cup of our favourite hot drink, and just sit down and reflect. Reflect on the year just gone and start to list out the things you’re grateful for. The things you have achieved. New learnings, new adventures that you took, where you stretched yourself, the new relationships that you’ve developed, the things that you have achieved over the last twelve months. List them all out and give yourself a well deserved pat on the back.

You see it’s human nature to look ahead. To see the “gap”. That area in our lives that hasn’t been fulfilled yet, or is not working well. We’re always chasing, worrying, and psychologically beating ourselves up for not having achieved the things that we were looking to achieve! How does that make us feel?

But what about our list of achievements and what we’re grateful for? We tend not to look at that list. Yet if we were to, how better would you feel as we come to a close of another year?

So go ahead and start making that list of all the things you’re grateful for. Even email the list to me as your commitment to doing it. Then review your list and relish in the moment of how good it feels.

You Did Good

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the NetVisionary Awards 2014 for the charity organisation that I’m involved in, MyGoodPoints, as we were shortlisted for the category “You Did Good – Best Use of the Internet for Social Good”.

Although the award went to another great organisation, SpunOut, I managed to meet one of the most amazing people I’ve come across.

Her name is Lauren Boyle and she won the “Award for Excellence – The Next Generation”.

The thing is Lauren is aged 9 – yes nine!

But what made her exceptional in my mind was her focus and intentions with what she is trying to achieve at such a young age. Yes she has great skills and determination in what she is doing in using technology, and for her it’s like a hobby. Hence first lesson – do what you love to do and you’ll never work another day in your life.

But her focus is on other people in everything that she does. She set up Cool Kids Studio with the intention of helping other kids of a similar age. She covers topics from life skills to healthy eating. She wants to build a big business, and I’ve no doubt she will.

This brings the second lesson – how much of your business is focused on helping people as opposed to being focused internally?

In all the successful businesses I’ve come across over the decades of my career, it is this one lesson that sets the winners apart – they are totally focused on helping the people they are trying to serve.

Lemons or Lemonade?

Yesterday it was reported by Newstalk where a jilted groom turned his cancelled wedding reception into charity event in order to raise $50,000.

Phil LaBoon, the former fiancé, decided to turn his reception into a charity fundraiser when his wedding was cancelled at the last minute.

Mr LaBoon decided not to wallow in misery after he and his bride suddenly decided not to tie the knot for reasons he chose not to disclose.

Reported by CBS Pittsburgh, the wedding was all ready to take place last Saturday at The Priory before the couple changed their minds.

The event went ahead as planned but with a very different audience than originally planned.

He sold tickets to his reception for $75 per person and that covered all the food, cocktails and entertainment that he had arranged.

The 32-year-old marketing CEO also sold sponsorship options which started at $150.

All of the proceeds will go to a group called Surgicorps, a charity that benefits sick children in developing countries. Mr LaBoon hoped to raise at least $50,000 for the charity.

He explained in a press release: “Nothing I experience will ever be equal to the obstacles these kids face each day of their lives, I’m just glad to be in a situation where I can lend a helping hand.

“Bad things happen,” he added. “But no matter the obstacles you face you have to keep working hard to turn the lemons in your life into lemonade.”

With any situation we have two options: to be on the “cause” side of things or to be on the “effect” side. The cause side being that you control how you react to a situation and therefore the actions you take. If you’re on the effect side, you believe that everything else conspires to give you the “lemons” that show up in your life every day – the missed opportunities, being passed over in a promotion, the failing relationships, the low bank balance, the list goes on.

There is one thing for certain in this life, and that is, everything comes from you. The situation that you find yourself in, to the results you get.

The universe will work with you no matter which you choose. It’s ultimately your decision as to which way you want to view things.

So when you look around you right now, what can you do to turn those obstacles into lemonade?

What can we learn from Madonna?

22 Years Ago! Yesterday my wife and I celebrated twenty-two years of marriage.

It’s hard to believe that in 1992 compact discs (CDs) surpassed cassette tapes (for those that remember them) as the preferred medium for recorded music. A text-based web browser was made available to the public for the first time which was then to become the World Wide Web within a few years, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation.

Just as in business, some things last and others don’t, that’s for sure. While some old ways of doing things still work, there are still plenty of things that have changed both in how we grow a business, how we manage our people, and how we provide our products and services to our customers. And new technology has certainly transformed many of the things that we do today.

We can learn a lot from the singer Madonna in how she changed herself as an individual and constantly re-invented herself to meet what the fans were looking for. Just as in marriage we move through stages of personal development and oftentimes we’re not the people we were years ago. It’s that constant dance that needs to take place to meet the needs of ourselves and those around us. There are times we need to dismantle (on paper) how we are doing things, in order to see how we can do them better.

The question for you now is how much have you evolved as an individual and as a business over the years? Have you re-invented yourself, and your business? How have you changed to meet the new needs of your customers?